Little Rock Marathon Thoughts and Expectations

litte rock marathon thoughts and expectations

If you noticed, I skipped using the word “goals” from my post because to be honest, I have very few goals for Little Rock Marathon besides to have fun.

It’s been almost 4 weeks since New Orleans. I’ve accomplished part of my goal. I PRed and while I still want to run a faster time, I think I’ll devote that energy towards Boston in April.

Besides my 20 miler over the weekend, I’ve been mostly doing recovery running since NOLA. Well specifically I did a reverse taper for the first two weeks after NOLA, a high mileage week and now it’s race week.

They say the course is hilly and I’ve kinda slacked off on hill training this year. Most of the more hilly running routes I do have been snow covered for months now. Also both NOLA and Boston are flat, so I’ve been focused more on speed rather than hill work. I believe that at the end of the day, it’s all about effort, but I also believe that running hills after training on flat and fast will be painful.

I didn’t really taper this week but I also didn’t really have a high mileage week. I’m at a little over 25 miles for the week when normally I would be around 35-40 by Friday. Since I’ll be on the road Friday, it’ll stay at 25 just because that’s how it ended up this week.

I can’t really say I’ve ever ran a marathon without racing it, or at least starting it racing it even if I end up sick (2013 NYC) or severely dehydrated (Boston 2012). At the moment, I am picturing myself starting the race, running a comfortable training run while taking some photos of other runners. What will happen when the gun goes off? Probably self competitive Liana will take over.

If this training run goes well, I’m assuming around a 3:35. But I’ll be content with a 3:45 and call it a great run. I know it’ll be an EPIC race regardless of time, but as someone that’s always mid training, I like all my training workouts to have some small target.

I also might wear a tutu!

BAA Boston Marathon New “NO BAG” Policy

Less than a day ago we all received news that the terrorists won, we are fully living in a life of terror and oppression even while paying high racing fees to run, all in the form of the BAA’s new Boston Marathon “no bag” check policy.

You might think I’m being a little dramatic? Yea well I’m sure the Nazis said the same thing before Hitler took over.  Okay I’m joking, I won’t compare the BAA to the third Reich but let’s review the new changes to the Boston marathon.

  • No bags will be allowed on buses from Boston to Hopkinton at all
  • Bags will not be transported from Hopkinton back to Boston
  • Bags will also not be allowed in certain areas near the start or finish lines or along the course.
  • Runners will be given a chance to check gear on Boston Common on the morning of the marathon to allow them to have a change of clothing at the end of the race.
  • Fanny pack (no larger than 5 inches x 15 inches x 5 inches) to carry food, nutritional products, medicine, identification, cell phone, home/hotel key or other similar and necessary small items

Okay, they got rid of bag check because quite frankly they’re just being lazy. Just give me a clear bag and I’ll put all my goodies in that. They already increased their registration price and with 9,000 extra runners paying up, I’m sure their funds are more than enough to figure out a better solution.

Majority of runners will be getting on the BAA buses at 7AM in Boston. Those who don’t take the buses, will be dropped off at the village around 7AM as well because they close off the roads hours and hours before the race. Unless you’re an elite, you don’t start racing until almost 10AM or way later if you’re older or a charity runner. I heard they’re going to have 4 waves this year going almost into a Noon start. Up to 6 HOURS of waiting without anything you own?

Fanny packs? First of all who owns these anymore. What is this? A 80s family road trip? Okay, say I bring this “fanny pack” with some of my stuff that a person may need, I still need to check it somewhere? Or, wait I’m suppose to throw everything out? Or better yet I’m suppose to be running with all my stuff on me? I don’t know, unlike most races, a lot of Boston Marathon runners don’t carry giant fuel belts. We paid to be there to race. I rely on the water station and my one Gu for fuel. I know that back in the 70s or whatever, races used to have no support, but I’m pretty sure they also didn’t have outrageous race fees as well. I’ve never ran with a fanny pack before and I’m not about to start. I couldn’t even tolerate those water belts that bruised my hips.

I listened to an interview this weekend with the director from this summer (I’m a little behind on podcasts). He said he wanted to keep the sanctity of the Boston Marathon and not turn it into a tribute race. However, as a friend put it the 2014 Boston Marathon is set up for people who are going to go through one marathon in their lives to cross it off their bucket lists and who just want to finish so who cares if they get enough to eat or anything else before it happens.

The Boston Marathon is usually my A race, even though it’s at a horrible time of year for me since I work in tax. I’m there to race, not check off an item on a stupid list. I got my 50 states for that.

It took me a few tries, but I finally had my list of things I need to make Boston work down. I took two pieces of toast with PB on the bus with me. I took a small snack of some chocolate. A magazine and a blanket to sit on because even with 90 degree weather, they don’t set up extra tarps. Sometimes I bring arm warmers or a long sleeve and decide as the start time approaches if it’s too cold or too warm and if I’ll need it. It’s hard to judge the weather at 7AM in the morning for a 10AM start. And no, aside from the magazine and food wrappers, I would like to keep my stuff and not throw out my racing layers. Running clothes don’t come that cheap. And no, I don’t want to run in a throw away layer. It’s wasteful and gross and just plain uncomfortable.

I’m not even sure how this new policy will affect those who use private/charity buses or those who don’t go through Boston to get to the race start.

You may say the NYRR did the same thing with NYC marathon this year with their 50,000 runners and I’ll say that’s where you’re wrong. They tried and failed and finally gave in. Instead they gave us an option. Check your bag or take the orange hood.  I did end up taking the option of the orange hood, having to shed, and donate layers and layers of clothes because I couldn’t check my stuff. Looking back, would I do that again? I’m not sure, but I can tell you one thing that orange hood is doing. Not much as it sits on the floor of my coat closet.

Dear NYRR can I return my orange hood for a refund?

I can tell you that the same thing with be happening to my Boston marathon silver hood. At least this one is less ugly?

The NYRR also allowed everyone to have a clear athlete village bag to put all the stuff we would be using in the hours we waited. And it was a lot bigger than the BYOF  (Bring your own fanny) the BAA is trying to make us do. Maybe I could settle if the BAA at least did that.

I don’t feel more secure and safe. There’s nothing out there to stop a crazy person from running into the race. You can’t guard all 26.2 miles every second of the race. Sometimes, you just need to trust your fellow runners and humanity. BAA and other security measures need to end this farce.

What do you think of the new BAA racing policy?

Weekly Recap – How to slack on triathlon training

They say that you SHOULD do more of what you’re weak at and less of your strength. Well this week was quite the opposite! The weather was amazing so of course I had to strap on running shoes and get out there. However, that left little motivation to sit inside on a bike trainer.

Adding to my lack of motivation to do things that I’m bad at, is my speed meter. I’m having trouble with my speed cadence which leaves me a bit discouraged. It is a bit more motivating to see 18mph I had last week than the 6.8mph it’s giving me this week. Furthermore to my slacking, I know I have the summer after my 50 miler to focus on biking!
Monday – Rest

Tuesday – 13.1 mile run 10 mile bike
I ran 8 miles in the morning on incline 2, alternating between 8.2MPH to 7.8 MPH with a 1 mile warm up. Average pace claimed 7:33. After work I got on the training and after 30 minutes my speed cadence started to hate me so I biked for 5 minutes more and decided to do a brick run instead! 5.1 miles on my homemill 7:50 pace.

Wednesday 7 miles
Legs tired after Tuesday. Got through 7 miles incline 3 at 8:12 pace

Thursday 10 miles + 35 minute ride
8 miles at 7:40 on incline 2, then 2 painful miles at at incline 3 of a run/walk combo crawl. Legs were a little tired, but I pushed them since next two weeks I have Little Rock marathon so aside from race day, I would take it a little easy.

My bike ride was another mystery mileage. Garmin told me 4 miles, but I pedaled harder than Tuesday that told me 10 miles before.

Thursday Rough Day

My cat tried to join on the trainer ride!

Friday 7 miles
The plan was for recovery as I set the treadmill to 8:12 pace or so on incline 2 but somehow I kept speeding up without it feeling harder.  Maybe it was season 7 of doctor who that I just started?? Either way, I stopped at 7 because I didn’t want to empty my legs out before the killer heat wave weekend we have. My average pace ended up being 7:42, oops.

Doc Who

Saturday 15 Miles
Such a beautiful, beautiful day! I didn’t make it outside until 2PM so I lost a good opportunity of running without cars. It was great to run in a t-shirt but not so fun trying to avoid cars. Lots of praying on this running. Dear people, please don’t text and drive, please see me in my bright colors, please don’t run me over! I got no where to go!

Saturday Run

I’m ecstatic to wear no sleeves!

Sunday 20.25 Miles
Although the day was overcast and the weather about 10 degrees cooler than Saturday, my run went a bit better than Saturday. Even with all the snow melting, it was still not enough for the majority of the sidewalks and running paths. That walk button is really useful! This is one of those crazy intersection

Sunday Run Snow

I ran in random parts to the lake in Wakefield that I was hoping would be runnable. Instead I only had about a mile of the parking area to run on before I reached the parked cars and then a route. So I turned around and went back to praying that no one is texting and driving!

Sunday Run Total

I did have a close call with a biker as well. Guy was bombing down the road as he did have the right of way, but almost ran into me as neither of us saw each other behind a snow bank. Very scary and very unpleasant for us both!

My heart really goes out to anyone training for this first marathon this winter! It’s a tough one, but you’ll be ready for anything by race day!

Total Miles – 72.35 Running and about 20 or 70 minutes of biking

Total Feelings – Quads are sore! Most be the double long runs this weekend! 

How was your weekend?

What to put in your (Apera) gymbag: Review & Giveaway

It took me a while, well over a year to figure out how to pack my gymbag and what not to pack. Actually, its probably more important to know what not to pack since I have to carry my bag on the train or walking from my house (about 15 minutes) instead of my car bearing the burden.

Now I just needed a bag. While I loved my little gymbag from Old Navy that I got for $11, it took about 2 weeks before it was falling apart. As I get older, I’m learning more and more that you get what you pay for. I guess that bag is meant for people with cars and not people who walk. I then migrated to using those reusable grocery bags. Problem is, they’re really uncomfortable to walk around with and I look like a crazy bag lady! Not cute, not comfortable, not fun.

So when Apera contacted me and offered to send me a bag of my choice in exchange for my views, I figured perfect! I did gasp a little when I saw their retail value, but after using the bag for a few weeks to travel and the gym, I have to confess that just like a well made designer purse, it is worth every dollar! 

Apera Bag (2)

I picked out one of their Performance Duffel Bags in fuchsia. First of all, it’s beautiful, but also since I go from home to gym to everything else between, I needed a bag that can handle it all for the day or for the weekend.

Why I love my Apera Bag

  • It’s super versatile.  I use it for work, for the gym and for weekend traveling. 
  • There are pockets for everything!  I have to confess, I’m a bit of a bag lady because I like to keep everything separate, but since this bag has so many pockets, I can finally get rid of all the gross bags I use. I have a place for my shoes, water bottle, fuel, gum, shower stuff, ipad, book, and so much more that I’ll mention later.
  • It has a washable insert to put your wet/sweaty/muddy clothes or in my case, my stink ass swimsuit as well.
  • It’s easy to clean! Apera makes their bags from an antimicrobial bag that protects the bag and everything I put in it from bacteria and odors.  All I gotta do is wipe it and it’s feeling fresh again.
  • Apera’s bags are also vented to allow for airflow which helps to keep everything in my bag dry and smelly free like my shoes!
  • Apera is charitable. Apera donates one Sprint Pack to the Special Olympics for every three Apera bags they sell.  Any company that promotes charity is good by me!

Let’s take a closer look at the bag, shall we?

Apera Bag (4)

There’s two small compartments on top where I keep my keys, cell, wallet and glasses case. The bag features two vented pockets on each side. I keep my running shoes on one side, while my flipflops go on the other side.Apera Bag (3)

There is a large side pocket on the back that I keep my ipad in. On the inside between snacks, shower stuff, and gym stuff, let’s just say I find a use for each and every one of the pockets.

What I keep in my gym bag

First and most importantly I always pack it the night before because when I pack in the morning I forget crucial things like socks, sports bra and worse of all underwear.

  • Running Clothes – Even if I’m planning on swimming, I still bring them because when you get in the mood, you want to have means to the go!
  • Swimsuit, goggles, cap, and that ear water drying drops – because even though I haven’t swam in months, I like to think when I finally talk myself into it, I’ll be ready
  • Underwear and socks – I always keep extra in case I forget, because I’ve forgotten countless times and it sucked to say the least
  • Running Shoes
  • Flip-flops – While I don’t use at them at my work gym, the Malden Y has so many strands of unknown diseases that I would never risk it and that’s a lot saying for me
  • Shower stuff – Shampoo, shower puff, conditioner, body wash, face scrub, moisturizer. I usually go home stinky and sweaty in the summer, but in the winter I have to put up with the horror of showering at the Y. In addition, I have dry shampoo for when I run at work. Hairbrush that always stays in my gym bag because forgetting that sucks too.
  • SNACKS & Fuel – Nuun, Gu, Kind bars, gum, leftover lunch because I really am always hungry
  • Work stuff – Wallet, glasses, my lunch for the day, a few basic make-up stuff that I never wear but sometimes carry
  • Sweatpants and hoodie – if I workout after work, I don’t really want to change into my office clothes, so I wear my hoodlum outfit home.

See, I wasn’t joking when I said I find a use for every pocket!

Apera Bag (1)

I may still be a secret bag lady, but at least my bag is looking mighty good!

The Performance Duffel sells for $124 but Apera is also running a sweet promotion where all BLUE bags are on sale for 40% off and a duffel bag of any color is also 40% off!

Apera Blue Bags

If you want to learn more about the Performance duffel or any of the other 6 bags Apera sells, check out their website where they also have videos available to give you a better idea of which bag will work best for you.

Giveaway

Apera is giving one lucky Run To Munch reader a Sprint Pack of their own!

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QOTD

1. Do you use a gym bag? I’m currently using the Apera Duffel mentioned above. I’m thinking of buying their backpack for when I start running to work if the snow ever melts.

2. What are your gym bag essentials? Dry shampoo and a facial scrub, everything else I can almost wing it.

Weekly Recap – Miles and Miles to go

To be honest my goals have been a bit manic lately as I train for multiple events that only partially go together. I’m torn between trying to get more mileage for my 50 miler trail run in June with getting more biking in for my half ironman in September. Let’s not ignore the swimming part too that I’ve avoided 100% since September. So a little explanation.

  • I’m going high mileage because the trails are frozen and I figured I can over compensate in mileage for the lack of trail running I’ve been doing.
  • I’m trying to build a biking base with my trainer. Since I’ve never really biked before, I figured any time on the trainer is better than nothing. I’m hoping to focus in on some rides over the summer when the roads are not covered with a foot of snow that barely a pedestrian and a car can get through.
  • My mileage in biking and running will be much higher in February vs. March since I’ll be more busy with work next month. Just like I like to bank in a race on time, I like to bank on miles to make up for busier months.
  • Boston Marathon will most likely still be my A race with Little Rock and Atlanta marathons as training runs for Boston and TARC 50 miler.
  • Thinking about running 50 miles makes me want to crawl in a hole; I hope this view changes when I can step on a trail without snowshoes on.
  • Swimming – I know I’ve been slacking. It’s cold, and the sidewalks are all icy. I’m giving myself until the snow melts to keep slacking, then I’m gonna have to start working on a swimming base again.
  • Strength – I should really do something about this. I was informed that carrying a gym-bag does not count as weight lifting

If you haven’t yet, don’t forget to enter my Pretty Muddy 5K giveaway! I got 4 entries to giveaway!

Monday – 7 Miles
Lesson of the day was that if I start of slow, I can finish strong. Progressive run to an average pace of 8 min per mile on Incline 3.

Tuesday – 8 Miles
My usual treadmill was taken so I had to use the crappy one that always tells me no user detected. Aside from some mumbling, I was happy for the break since this one is easier to run on than my usual one. 7:35 pace

Wednesday – 10 Miles
Ran 8 miles at incline 3 and cooled of with 2 miles on incline 2. 8:02 average pace for the whole run

Thursday – 10 Miles + 33 Trainer Ride
Reversed from my usual. I did 8 miles at incline 2, 7:32 pace and ended it with 2 miles at incline 3 for those evil races that like to end on a hill. Average pace of 7:42

In the evening I thought it would be a great idea to do a long trainer ride since I was going skiing on Saturday. Biked for 1 hour and 45 minutes to what my Garmin told me was 33 miles, but who knows the actual distance.

Friday – 3.1 Mile Run
I was really tired from the long ride on Thursday so I took it easy. Figured a nice little 5K to recover with. 7:44 pace.

Saturday – Cross Country Ski 3 miles?
So the distance is not record-breaking, but it involved taking a lesson and making your own path because the trails we paid to use did not have tracks. Inclines definitely got me sweating!

Sunday – 20 Miles
I was going to go run outside, but as I looked at the fresh layer of powder dumped Saturday night, I changed my mind. I told myself, I have Monday off, maybe I’ll run long then. I went to the basement to run 9 miles since I like keeping 50 running miles per week.

At mile 9 I still felt fresh and decided to keep going with the latest episode of the Blacklist. By 12.9 Miles when my treadmill timer reset I was still feeling solid, so I was like okay, let’s just do the long run now. At my rough Boston Draft, I was supposed to be on a 16 miler so I figured just another 5K to stay on track for Boston. By the time 16 miles came, I was like let’s do 2 more since I did 16 last week. When 18 came, I was pretty tired and done with running, but I still had a little gas in the tank, so I was like why not do 2 more to get to 20 miles! No, I was not able to get myself to run .2 more for my usual habit of ending runs on a .2 or .1.

This would be my first treadmill 20 miler in over 2 years. I did one when I was training for my first marathon. This would also be a new distance for my crappy home treadmill that I previously maxed out at 13.1 miles on.

To what can I dedicate this run to? Episode of Blacklist, New Girl, Mindy Show and a fresh pair of new shoes!

Total Miles 111.2 Miles

Total Biked 50 Miles

Total Ran 61.2 Miles

Total Feelings – With the exception of crazy insomnia Thursday night, my legs feel great

How did your week go? Feel free to link up in the comments!

Weekend Wrap – Up ` Pintxos, Skiing, and Running

It’s Monday and normally I’d be in my wave of sadness mourning the weekend, but luckily it’s a holiday so I get the day off! Sadly Tony doesn’t so I’m just relaxing alone.

Remember how I mentioned one of the best things about Barcelona was munching on Pintxos? Well I recently learned of a new place that opened up in Woburn, about a 15 minute drive from me, called Pintxo Pincho Tapas Bar. That’s where Tony and I found ourselves this Friday night for Valentine’s day. Although, had it not been “vday,” we would have been there anyways cause I’ve been dying to go.

pintxos 1

Salmon, grilled chorizo, Ceviche and octopus. The grilled octopus dish was the best that I’ve had in the states in a long while! The the ceviche was the first time since Peru that I actually loved the dish!

Pintxos 2

We also got the blood Sausage & Chorizo stew, seafood and chicken paella and rabbit cooked in tomatoes. Both very good. I couldn’t find a website for the bar, but there’s a nice write-up in the Boston Globe.

After dinner Tony surprised me with a box of Flake, one of my favorite chocolates. I usually heavily restock in London, but since T-dawg switched jobs we no longer get to go annually so I had a severe Cadbury flake drought.

Flowers

Also got surprised with so pretty flowers while I was on the trainer for my long ride. Now I just gotta keep the cats from destroying them. Speaking of cats –

meowzuno

He put the Meow before the zuno! And if you see this box, it means I got a new pair of shoes!

New SHoes

My waverider 15s were starting to fall apart, all three pairs, so I jumped on the 16s when I saw them on amazon for $72! Now they’re $70! This led to me busting out a 20 miler on the treadmill, but that’s for the weekly recap post!

photo 2 (7)

Tony, my friends and I drove up to Sunapee, NH for some skiing, since I don’t know how to ski, and everything scares me when I go downhill, I went cross-country skiing instead with my friend. We took a short lesson and then explored on our own. The place where we went promised groomed/tracked trails but something or other happened to their snowmobile so we had to pave the way on our own which got us stuck is some snowbanks and snowfields. Luckily, it was all fresh powder that as very soft to fall into. I saw Mt. Sunapee and the skiers/snowboarders from our cross country trail 5 miles away!

photo 1 (8)

And to cap off the weekend of adventure, I won tickets to the wine expo from Pasta Chips on twitter so I took Tony with me. My face and hair is looking a little greasy because when you spend 2 hours playing candy crush instead of your long run, and then decide to go for your long run, you run (no pun intended) out of time to do girlie things like your hair. Priorities, we all pick them!

Anyways, at the wine expo, I’m proud to brag that I did a good job of not getting myself trashed. I tasted 100s of wines making sure to spit and snack and drink water in between. Only at 4:30, 30 minutes before closing, did I allow myself to sip instead of just taste! Other highlights include finally bumping into Dani whom I keep just missing while I was in New Orleans, and met Susan, another Boston Blogger.

I don’t think wine will ever replace my love for beer, but I did from some new favorites!

How was your weekend? 

Are you a beer or wine person? Neither? I prefer a cold IPA over a glass of wine.

How I made the treadmill tolerable + Pretty Muddy Giveaway!

How I learned to love the treadmill

Okay, so love may be too strong of a word, but it’s no lie that I spend a lot of time on the treadmill. It’s convenient and reliable way to run when the outside looks a little like this:

slush

I thought I would share some tips on how you too can learn to love, or at least become buddies with this “evil” device.

How to Love the treadmill

Make a mental change – If you keep talking/thinking negative thoughts about the treadmill, you will hate the workout. Instead, stop calling it the dreadmill and thinking about how much you hate winter and the treadmill and yada, yada, yada. Just tell yourself you love the treadmill, and you can’t wait for your treadmill date. Say it enough times and you might believe it. Hey every change starts with a change of thought.

Give yourself something to look forward to – The treadmill is a great time to catch up on plenty of guilty pleasures. Have a new album you want to listen to? Perfect time to do it while running. Save your favorite podcast or audiobook for your run. That way, when it’s time to get busy on the treadmill, you can focus more on the audiobook and less on how boring your run is. My personal favorite thing to do on the treadmill is to watch TV teen dramas. Vampire diaries, Hart of Dixie, Gossip Girl and anything in between are perfect for the treadmill where you can listen and partially watch, but if you zoned out, you really didn’t miss too much. I have Hulu Plus for that main reason. Netflix also works, and even xfinity cable works on ipads/iphones but not as well.

Give your workout meaning I still haven’t found the trick to doing long runs on the treadmill without dying of boredom. Running continuously and steady in one place is absolutely boring to me. Instead I save my speed workouts for the treadmill. Pushing yourself to hit speed targets on the road can be difficult with people, lights, cars and if you say the running 400s on the track is more exciting you are cray cray. Instead, I find that pushing yourself after setting the speed on a treadmill is much easier. Tempo runs, interval runs, progressive runs and any other speed play is my game.

Recognize the treadmill benefits – I think realizing the benefits of the treadmill vs. the road can make you appreciate this evil device a little more. For one, it’s a lot more forgiving than the road. I don’t know how the roads are in the rest of the country, but in Boston/NYC they are old, cracked, bumpy, uneven and concrete in general is purely unforgiving. I’ve been running 50-70 weekly miles for 2 years now with no injuries (knock on wood) and I think a large portion of that is that 50% or more of my miles are on the treadmill. There’s also the fact that you don’t have to worry about snow, rain, heat, coldness, cars, people, dogs and just the annoyance of the outside world in front of you. You can focus purely on your miles and form without those distractions.

I hope those few tips will get you started on appreciated the lonely treadmill just a tiny bit more.

Pretty Muddy Giveaway

As I hinted in my Pretty muddy against cancer post, I have some goodies. I have four entries ( 2 regular and 2 family edition) for the following cities/dates to giveaway

  • Dallas, April 26th
  • Sacramento, May 3rd
  • Chicago, August 16th
  • Richmond, September 20th

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